Sunday, December 1, 2013

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

Wow, December's here!  I'm going to have a very busy Christmas season this year, and though I probably shouldn't have taken the time to, I have 'redecorated' the blog for Christmas. :)  I justify this action by the fact that I took less time getting the header right than I usually do, and went more with the first thing I liked.  It's only for a month, after all.

But I must say I'm pretty satisfied. :D

In case anyone's wondering, the period dramas the pictures are from are as follows:
Top: Little Women (1994), Emma (2009) (a snowy Hartfield!)
Bottom: Emma (A&E, 1996), Emma (2009), Little Women (1994)
Yeah, not too much of a variation.  But those are a couple of my favorite period dramas that include Christmas. :)

I hope I'll manage to post again before then, but Merry Christmas, everyone!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Song Challenge: Days 28-30

The last segment in this series!

Day 28: A Song That Makes You Feel Guilty
Um? Okay, I'm not quite sure what this one means.  Makes me feel guilty for listening to it, or a song that perhaps makes you feel guilty in some other way... almost tending towards encouragement to improve oneself? Ha... but I haven't got an answer for this one.  So let's see what random song I get.
Heh, heh, heh. Well, it's not *my* fault the numbers keep being Phantom stuff.

Day 29: A Song From Your Childhood
When I was younger I played the violin/fiddle and was involved in a lot of contests and performances, whether being in them or watching my older brother, so a lot of fiddle songs bring back memories.  Here's one that was in a group I was in... there were annual performances once a year and it was for Youth. Haha. Not a bit like a Classical orchestra... the songs were more folksy. ;) One time we played this waltz and they had these professional ballroom dancers perform a waltz on the stage which was sort of interesting.  Although the girl's dress left Somewhat to be Desired. ;)
I quite like this song, incidentally. :D Pretty much any waltz by Jay Ungar has my approval.

Day 30: Your Favorite Song at This Time Last Year
Haha... wow.  I don't have a 'favorite song' at particular moments, really, but I would say whatever I listened to the most at the time would be a Christmas song, since it was Christmastime then too.  So I'm trying to think of something that I wouldn't have listened to all that much before, so that it would be New, because new songs I like are generally played to death at first. :)
Well, I discovered the soundtrack for A Christmas Carol (my favorite version from 1984), and the theme/overture/song-that-plays-at-the-beginning is Delightful. :D
Click here.
(Although I'm not sure that will work... it's not playing for me. Bah, humbug. :P  Well, if it doesn't, go here and just listen up to 1:20.)

So... this is the end, I guess! Well, it's been fun!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Song Challenge: Days 25-27

Day 25: A Song That Makes You Laugh
Pooor fool, he makes me--coughshuttingup.
Hmmm... okay, here's one.  I don't hear it a whole lot which is probably why it at least usually makes me snicker a bit. ;)

Day 26: A Song That You Can Play On an Instrument
Ooh! This is fun.  Well, I know part or most of several songs, so I'll go with one I can actually play from start to finish. Heehee. :)

Day 27: A Song That You Wish You Could Play
Mmmm... this one.  I think I may have tried playing the first bit a few times but... I gave up. Heh.  But I would love to be able to play this. It's so beautiful. *sighhhh* Well, the first few minutes, mostly. Some other parts I'm not as crazy about. :P

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Song Challenge: Days 22-24

Day 22: A Song You Listen To When You're Sad
When I'm sad and I want to listen to music, I don't go and listen to something happy to cheer me up.  Oh, no.  This is where I have some Marianne Dashwood tendencies.  I'd probably go and listen to some song where I could immerse myself in sadness.  Possibly one with words, but instrumental leaves more room to apply a song to oneself, haha. One gorgeous song that I just looove but can find sad, or rather tragic, at times (I especially did when I was younger, before I learnt to appreciate just the emotion in some music, heehee) is this one.

Day 23: A Song That You Want to Play at Your Wedding
I actually have a list for this.  Somewhere.  Haven't looked at it in a long time.  Um... a song I've planned for AGES on having in my wedding is the Anne of Green Gables theme, but I already posted about that in the very first of these posts.  But here's a random song I think it would be nice to have played 'live'. :D Just the piano version, but here's the one from the soundtrack.

Day 24: A Song That You Want to Play at Your Funeral
Oh, goodness me! Little moooorbid, aren't we?  Hmm... "Without You"? SNORT.  Um... some hymns would be nice... but you know, I'm sure whatever my family would choose would be fine. And I do not like this subject. Let's just have a random song, shall we.
Zee Random is being boring at me, sigh, but here's what it came up with. (The second thing, actually-- first I got a random Emma Soundtrack song but Blogger wouldn't let me put the video here... weird.)

Song Challenge: Days 19-21

I'm behind here, so there should be two posts today.

Day 19: A Song From Your Favorite Album
Ummm... I don't have a favorite album. I just don't! I tried to come up with one and I just couldn't. So... random song time.
I do love this song. I should listen to it more. ;)

Day 20: A Song You Listen To When You're Angry
It depends on what my purpose is.  Sometimes maybe something Loud to match my mood... or perhaps just something normal to calm me down, haha.  I don't have a particular answer for this so it will have to be another random song.  I know, I'm a dud today...

RANDOM SONG: this. So, I didn't even know that was on my MP3 player... heh. I should listen to more of my stuff.

Day 21: A Song You Listen To When You're Happy
Trying to think of something I might not be keen on listening to as much if I was unhappy... mmm... this. 'Tis good Happy Music.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Song Challenge: Days 17-18

Day 17: A Song You Hear Often on the Radio
Hmmm... well, I don't listen to the radio very much, really.  When I do, it's the Classical station.  And I can't remember one song being played particularly more than others... it seems like I've heard bits of Vivaldi's The Four Seasons multiple times, though.  And as all of that is rather long and I have no individual movement or even 'season' in mind, I don't have anything to link to.  Hopefully y'all have at least heard The Four Seasons before... and if you haven't, you should go educate yourself. ;)

Day 18: A Song That You Wish You Heard on the Radio
Well, one day I was walking around the house singing "All I Ask of You" when my dad was like, "I heard that song on the radio before, by the way" and I was like "WHAT! really? Coool! And it had singing?" "Yeah, I think so..." "Oooh! Do you remember who was singing it, or what it was from, or anything?" "Uh... I have no idea."
So ever since that moment I've been wanting to hear that song on the radio for myself. ;)
And if any of you feel like watching/listening to this and Enjoying the Adorbs... be my guest. :D
OHMYGOODNESS they are just so CUTE. That spin! EEEEEEP! 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Song Challenge: Days 14-16

So, I was supposed to have posted yesterday again... coughcough.  For some reason on the actual day I'm supposed to I'm at a loss to know what to put. But.  I will get back on the every-three-days bit on the 18th. Um... well, I'll try. :P

Day 14: A Song That No One Would Expect You To Love
Um?  I really don't know what to say for this one.  I'm not actually very unpredictable, and I don't think anything I could say would surprise all of you.  So let's just do a random song, shall we? I know, cop-out... but believe me, I did try to think of something. 

*random number* Oh, wow... thrilling.  (Ha, there's nothing wrong with this song, of course, but it's not like I listen to it for itself... only if I'm listening to the whole soundtrack.)

Day 15: A Song That Describes You
Haaaaa. Hahaha.  These are getting haaaaard.  Um... well, I don't think there could possibly be any song that would describe me, but I suppose some of them could describe certain aspects. ;)  For some reason I came up with this song as one that's always rather spoken to me, especially my sentimentality, you know.  And a lot of me is made up of the sentimental. ;)

Day 16: A Song That You Used to Love But Now Hate
Griefies!  Ha, this doesn't apply to me.  I don't exist in extremes like that. If I really love a song, I wouldn't ever hate it... unless somehow it became associated with a bad memory or something, which would be another story.
Sooo... let's change this to "a song I used to listen to all the time but hardly ever do anymore". That's the best I can come up with.
And don't get me wrong, I still LIKE this song a lot... it's just that several years ago I heard it so much that I wore it out. Haha. ;)

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Song Challenge: Days 10-13

Yes, I was supposed to post yesterday, but never mind that. (I was thinking about it but I felt too Stuck.)  I'll just do four songs this time and two in two days. ;)

Day 10: A Song that Makes You Fall Asleep
Well, I can't say any songs make me fall asleep these days.  But when I was younger my sister used to put on a lullaby tape for me and I would go to sleep while it was playing, so I will give you a song from one of those.
"First Lullaby" from the album "Stardreamers" with Priscilla Herdman. (It's a link to Grooveshark. Couldn't find any I wanted on YouTube.)
The songs were all Priscilla Herdman's (some from another album called "Moondreamers"), and she had such a soothing voice to me.  Now listening to these makes me nostalgic. ;)

Day 11: A Song From Your Favorite Band
Well... short and simple: I don't 'do' bands. :P  Really, I don't listen to any music that qualifies as being from a band.  The only kind that would ever fall into that category would be the "big band" swing music of the 1930s-40s, and maybe even 1920s (Jeeves and Wooster theme, anyone? ;)).  But that's only if I'm in the right mood (In the Mood... ahahahaha... okay, sorry, that's the name of one of the most popular swing songs from that time), and only some of the music because I really don't like all of it. When it has a really vintage-y air, or just sort of makes me feel Happy... Anyways, but I can't think of one particular song so... I guess I'll just bow out of this one?

Day 12: A Song From a Band You Hate
Oh, well that's a big improvement. :P Sighhh.  You know what, since I'm not particularly creative and don't feel like coming up with Alternate Questions, when there's a question that doesn't apply to me (like this... I mean, I don't even listen to bands and if I did, why would I know about songs from ones I hated, exactly??) I'm going to do that Random Song thing that's often in tags and such.  Where you take your Music Device and give you the first song I get on shuffle.
Actually I'm going to use and just put in the number of songs on my MP3 player, and then find the corresponding number.  If it's not a song I can find online, I'll go to the next number until there is one.  (These are the rules I'm making up ahead of time. :D) Ditto for if it's a song I've already used in this challenge.

So! Random song #1: "Wouldn't It Be Loverly" from the 1964 My Fair Lady soundtrack.

Day 13: A Song that is a Guilty Pleasure
Um.  A something I regard as a guilty pleasure, I assume it means?  Well, generally when I feel guilty about something it is not pleasurable, so the term doesn't make too much sense to me. ;)  But the first thing I could think of that would at all fit into this is... "The Phantom of the Opera" (theme).  Just because it's to rock-y, especially with the whole weird electric-guitar-and-percussion thing that starts after a while, so it's not the kind of music I feel comfortable with.  Haha. Although I actually usually skip the song after about half, because I'm just like "ugh, enough of you".  When I do listen to the whole thing I'm either a) in a listen-to-the-whole-entire-thing-minus-PONR mood, or b) in a weird mood where I want to giggle over the whole "Siiiiiing for meeeeeee!" thing, eehehehehehehe, and snicker-snort over this music does not match the rest of the thing and um, why did we have to stick 1980's-ness in here and then keep it, exactly? Also just that it's from Phantom gives me some pleasure. ;)

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Song Challenge: Days 7-9

Day 7: A Song That Reminds You of a Certain Event
Heehee. Okay. Can't resist... "Poor Fool, He Makes Me Laugh" from The Phantom of the Opera reminds me of Amy's visit in July.  And always shall. :D For anybody to whom it has not yet been explained-- I have no idea why we latched onto this particular random song, but we did, and it was in our head for days and we sang bits of it like every two minutes. :P We started singing the tune with different words, too. "Iiiit goes with ev'rything, hahahaha-ha!"
(Although this video cuts out the bit that has "Your part is siiiiiilent, little TOAD!" and that was not absent from our quoting and joking, believe me. :P)

Day 8: A Song That You Know All the Words To
Haha... okay, this could apply to a lot of songs. If I listen to a song enough I usually memorize it by default. So I must have some particular reason for what I pick... well, I'll go with the last song I was just singing for no particular reason, which would be "Just You Wait" from My Fair Lady.  (I was playing Uno with my parents-- I think what triggered it was when my dad draw-four-ed me. I said "just you waaaait..." and that phrase cannot be said by me without the at least some of the song following. Haha. :D Like you even wanted to know all that...)

And by the way, if you haven't seen either Phantom or MFL... well, don't try to make sense of these two songs. Haha. They may seem Rather Odd by themselves.  If you're curious I'd be happy to expline-- er, explain--everything to you in comments, though. ;)

Day 9: A Song You Can Dance To
Well, that encompasses an awful lot, too!  A lot of waltzes will fall into this category for me, but I think this calls for a good ol' jig.  "Oh, play a jig, Mary-- no one wants your concertos here!"
So here we have "Jane's Jig" from the Miss Austen Regrets soundtrack... although I know I've heard this song outside of this soundtrack... it's just an old song, but I'm not sure what it's called. I even have it on another CD, but it's in a medley and doesn't clarify.  (If you know the name, please do enlighten me!)

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

30 Day Song Challenge: Songs 4-6

Day 4: A Song That Makes You Sad
This is actually harder than I thought it would be... I mean, if it just sad "A Sad Song," that would be easy enough.  There's this, and this, and this and this... oh yeah, and we mustn't forget this.  So that's just what I came up with without thinking very hard.  But see, the thing that often happens with me... I listen to a song that makes me all sad and emotional the first few times I hear it, and then after that I kind of... well, I don't harden, per se. But they no longer make me sad, I just sort of like basking in the melodrama. Heh.

This taken into consideration, I'm going with something I discovered more recently, and by semi-random selection here we have "Without a Word" from the musical for A Tale of Two Cities. (Actually my favorite adaptation of the book to date. ;) ) It figuratively tore me up inside a little. You could just go listen to the song separately, but that one has slightly different words and I don't like the background music as well, and it's sadder when you can actually see Lucie singing it, so... here. Take this video:
...and watch from 1:32:32 - 1:36:05.
"I'd follow you, I'd be selfish too; I'd gladly join you in the grave! But there's a vow I won't betray--she'll never see me walk away.... And though my soul will die with you, our child will not be left alone..." *sniffle*

Day 5: A Song That Reminds You of Someone
Going for something silly and random here... okay, so you know the kids' song "This Old Man"? (With the knick-knacks and paddy-whacks and giving of bones to dogs?) Well, the first time I ever heard that was when Cassie, a girl who lived in the house behind me, was singing it, so now it always makes me think of her. Haha.  We would play together sometimes, but more often we'd just talk to each other over the fence.  I remember being quite shocked when I found out her name was actually Cassandra.  I liked the name Cassie, but finding out that was just a nickname and her full name was Cassandra came as something of a crushing disappointment.

I didn't like the name Jane back then, either.
My, how I've changed. ;)

Day 6: A Song That Reminds You of Somewhere
Back in 2006 my mom and I took a long trip on a jet to a faraway land. ;)  On the airplane you could plug in these earbuds to your armrest thing, and flip through different 'radio' stations. Well, I found the Classical one and listened to that for a while, and I think they had the same songs they played multiple times (when I say long trip, I mean long) and this song was one of them. So now every time I hear it, I'm reminded of that, and for a while afterwards when I listened to it I sort of got the feeling of actually being there again, if you know what I mean... which was cool... and though that's faded, it still reminds me of it.
And by the way, I didn't actually remember what song it was. Nope, but I mentioned it to my brother when I heard the song sometime afterwards, and then yesterday I was asked him "so, what was the name of that song that reminds me of being on the airplane?" and he was just like "Oh, that's Borodin--string quartet." and I was like "okay, thanks."
He knows his Classical music like I know my Jane Austen. ;)

Sunday, November 3, 2013

30 Day Song Challenge: Songs 1-3

I've seen this song challenge thing a couple times now and thought it looked like fun... and although it isn't my usual type of thing to post on this blog, I am in sore need of posts.  Besides, Jane Austen and Music are by no means unconnected. :)  (Y'all knew she was an accomplished pianist, right? Where do you think Marianne Dashwood and Anne Elliot got it from?)

However, I'm stealing Hayden's idea a little and not actually posting every day.  But instead of five songs at a time, I'm doing three, every three days. So by the end of the month there should be ten posts. Right? Math never was my strong point. :P

I'm not even reading that whole list right now or I might feel a bit overwhelmed and skeptical. Haha. I'll just take it three at a time. :D

So! The first three...

Day 1: Your Favorite Song

Ummm... I do not have a favorite song.  Buuut when I was Younger I did, so I'm going to go with that since I no longer have one. (Don't be redundant, Melody.)
Anyway, that would be Anne's Theme (sometimes called "Together") from Anne of Green Gables (and the sequel).  Howeverrrr, my faaavorite version is one my brother and cousin recorded for a CD (a CD made with the songs compiled for the wedding of one of my sisters) and I cannot put that here so I'll have to go with the actual soundtrack. Which is nice too, of course.

Day Two: Your Least Favorite Song

Okay, are you kidding me? This is even more absurd than my favorite song, because in the world today there would be way more songs I dislike than the ones I do, being very picky about music. Plus I wouldn't even listen to the songs that would be my least favorite. So let's tweak this one a little to beee...
My Least Favorite Christmas Song.

It isn't Christmastime yet, I know, but it will be by the end of the month (yeekes!) and this is just the easiest category for me.  Now there are TONS of annoying songs they play on the radio and in stores and whatnot that just make me think, why, WHYYY when there is so much gorgeous Christmas music out there??  But the one that's annoyed me the most the last few years is this one called "Last Christmas" and I reserve the right not to link to or post it. Since I don't like it. I mean... obviously.  It's not even really a Christmas song besides for mentioning Christmas, it's just really dumb and annoying and way too overplayed. Rather fun to mock, though. 

There are actually a number of Christmas songs I don't like.  (You want a hippopotamus for Christmas? Seriously? ...Why?)  I love pretty much any old-fashioned carol and a majority of the old vintage songs, though. :D

Day Three: A Song That Makes You Happy

Okay, this is good. "A song."  This is not limiting. One can be random. I like it. 
A lot of songs make me happy, but the first one that popped into my head iiiis "The Last Dance" from the Emma 2009 soundtrack. (Yes, I like soundtracks.)

*HAPPY SIGH* (If you suspect that the scene this is from is half the reason it makes me happy... well, I'm not going to tell you you're wrong. ;) )

That's all for now! :)  Have you listened to any of these songs before? Have you ever done this song challenge?

Saturday, October 26, 2013

October 30: Talk Like Jane Austen Day {and a giveaway plug}

For all my readers who may be interested, I wanted to let you know that Wednesday, October 30th is Talk Like Jane Austen Day.  Nope, I didn't make it up.  I think it's a JASNA thing, actually.  It's the anniversary of Jane Austen's first published novel.  Here is a link if you want to read more.  I intend to have a bit of fun with it! :)

Secondly, if any of you out there are Road to Avonlea fans like me you will want to be inspecting this giveaway at Bramblewood Fashion! :)

And just in case either of them happen to check Blogger on this auspicious day... Happy Meeting Day to Amy and Petie!!!!  REALLYREALLY wish I could be there too but I'm so excited for them! (Eeeep, they're probably together right now! Wow...)

Friday, September 27, 2013

Jane Eyre (The Musical): A Dream Cast by Melody and Amy

Thirteen years ago there was a new musical on Broadway, the leads played by Marla Schaffel and James Barbour (pictured on right).  This musical, as you have probably all apprehended, was an adaptation of Charlotte Bronte's classic Jane Eyre.  They made a gorgeous cast recording, but that, precious few pictures, and some low-quality videos from camera-sneakers are all that are left to show for it.  Since then the musical hasn't been resurrected besides various high school productions, songs being performed at recitals, and so forth. 

And why, we ask?  The music is lovely (much of it very delightfully accurate to the novel--you can listen to the complete playlist here) and the story is a timeless winner.

As to Jane Eyre itself--oh sure, there are about ten film adaptations out there, so somebody must have finally perfected it, right?  Um, wrong.  The sad fact is that with all those movies (and even several miniseries), none of them are without lots of negative points.  Nobody has really captured the novel yet--the newer ones seem intent on either giving it a fresh and new (or just different) perspective, or they just don't make it long enough to get the details.  On one hand, this is almost nice because even if you've seen some of the movies you can read the book and discover that it's even better. 

But still.  Such a famous work of literature deserves a outstanding adaptation, and yet they've almost dabbled around too much to ever do it now.  It would be kind of like "a new Jane Eyre, again? What will they do to it this time, for pity's sake?" (Not to say we still wouldn't enjoy the elusive close-to-perfect adaptation, though.) 

So this is what we think: the people responsible for such things should take this hidden gem of a musical and make it into a movie.  That would be so different that it wouldn't seem redundant, yet because of how good the musical is, it would definitely count among the others as an adaptation of the book.  It would be that fresh perspective they keep trying for without changing the book and dismally failing in the eyes of the Jane Eyre fans. 

To the point.  As part of Miss Dashwood's "Celebrate Musicals Week," she and Melody have decided to compile a dream cast (and other tidbits on what they'd do could they be in charge of such a production).

So, without (even) further ado... ladies and... well, probably mostly ladies... let's welcome The Cast!

Mr. Rochester

Ramin Karimloo.  The end.

Just kidding, there's no way we're leaving it at that, but going on further presents a great danger of gushing because we are reallyreallyreally excited about this choice.  Seriously, HE WOULD BE SO PERFECT.  The only objection we could think of is that he... isn't ugly. :P  But hey.  He can be dark, mysterious, and brooding, without looking that way all the time (Mr. Rochester is moody, which means, you know, that his mood varies, and he can be humorous many times as well).  Also emotional and dramatic.  (We've seen Ramin as The Phantom so we know very well that he can do this.)  Plus, his looks are rather irregular, and during that time period this didn't seem to be considered handsome.  So we're satisfied. :D

See, look, he's brooding.
Besides, this idea was what got this all started to begin with.  The two of us were watching this video when Amy pipes in with "You know, he would make a good Rochester..." and so it went from there. 

Did we mention about his voice fitting the role perfectly?  No?  Well... THAT TOO.  (If you want to hear one of the Mr. Rochester songs, go listen to "As Good As You," and of course he's in others that will be linked to throughout.) 

Jane Eyre

We had some struggles finding the perfect actress for Jane.  There are lots of incredibly talented young women singing on Broadway and the West End and whatnot-- we briefly considered Jennifer Damiano, Sofia Escobar and Cristin Milioti, even bandying Claire Foy's name about at one point though she's not a singer.  Yet we still couldn't find a petite, preferably dark-haired actress who wasn't strikingly pretty, could sing in a comfortable mezzo/alto range without sounding too modern and was the right age to play Jane (under 25 at least, but ideally we wanted someone 18-21).

So guess what we did?
We cast Melody.

I mean, hello, she's definitely on the shorter side (5'3", which isn't quite as small as we imagine Jane to be, but good enough especially considering how tall Ramin Karimloo is), she can sing in a lovely classical style (yes, she can, don't let her tell you otherwise), she's dark and has an old-fashioned look about her AND she's quite familiar with the role and could play Jane as she ought to be played.  To perfection.  Jane needs to be portrayed by someone who can put the proper amount of emotion into "Secret Soul" and "Painting Her Portrait," someone who also has a good sense of humor and can banter with Mr. Rochester without seeming overly somber, someone who can bemusedly tolerate the old gypsy woman and then be justly annoyed when the fortune-teller's identity is revealed.

We think Melody is the best choice.  (Well... Amy does.  Melody agreed as a last resort, having only brought up the idea as a joke in the first place.)

However, if you have other suggestions for the part of Jane, please do share them in the comments! That goes for any of these choices, of course-- well, except for Mr. Rochester.  Ramin Karimloo's our final decision.  :D

{As you've probably guessed, Amy wrote the above segment.  Just so you all know that Melody is not in the general habit of going around and boasting about herself.  And yes, Melody is writing this bit right here.  Your powers of deduction are astounding.}

Blanche Ingram

Another choice we're excited about.  This time we've decided to cast a Regular Actress and dub her voice, so we're going with Emily Blunt to act the part, and Sierra Boggess to sing it.  (We considered having Sierra play the part in general, but we know very well that people would then be of the opinion that Mr. Rochester should have married her, cough cough cough, and That Isn't Happening.)  Emily's role as Queen Victoria is what originally made us consider her (it's around the same time period, you know), but we can really see her pulling off the facial expressions and snobbishness while having the general grace and beauty that is Miss Ingram.  And she looks like she could be twenty-five even if she's actually a bit older.  As for our Voice Choice, Blanche requires a strong classically-trained soprano (this is apparent in "The Finer Things," and she also sings with Jane in "In the Light of the Virgin Morning") and Sierra Boggess has the right sound.

Mrs. Fairfax

Mrs. Fairfax's character in the musical tends to annoy us--she's really quite different from the Mrs. Fairfax of the book, but unfortunately we can't make any major changes to her character without changing her songs as well, and we don't wish to do that.  So we'll just have to deal with what we've got.  We picked Angela Lansbury for this part--she may be a bit older than what Mrs. Fairfax is supposed to be, but she still has a pretty strong voice and we think she could do an excellent job with "Perfectly Nice" (the song that annoys us the most, haha) and "A Slip of a Girl" (in which Mrs. Fairfax is, er, more unkind than she is in the book).

Mr. Brocklehurst

For the stern, affectedly pious, just plain mean and excessively irritating superintendent of Lowood School, we chose Philip Glenister.  We've seen him in Cranford as Mr. Carter, who isn't a mean character, but we definitely think he could do it.  (In most pictures of him he looks stern and scowling as it is.)  Mr. Brocklehurst's part does require some singing in "Children of God," and for that we want James Barbour to do the dubbing, as he played Mr. Rochester in the original play.  Bit of fun trivia-ish-ness, you know, and besides, he has a very good voice.  (We won't bother linking to a song for him because you can just go listen to Rochester's songs, after all.)

St. John Rivers

We do not like St. John Rivers.  St. John is stupid.  In fact, to paraphrase Mr. Palmer, St. John is as stupid as the weather. (No offense, weather.  You're pretty nice right now, at least where Miss Dashwood lives.)  But despite our dislike of the character, we understand that it's important to cast someone who can manage to look saintly and preferably kind of Grecian-ish, and though St. John's singing part in the musical isn't our favorite, he also needs to be a good singer.  Killian Donnelly has played Enjolras on the West End, so he has the Greek god thing down pat, and he manages to look Youthful and Innocent and Idealistic and all that as well.  Plus he has a great voice.  The only danger here is that we (read: Miss Dashwood) might end up liking St. John by the end of the movie.  Ooopsie. 

Mrs. Reed

For the horrid "Aunt Reed" we have chosen to cast Polly Walker. Just because she was the best candidate we could find at the time, haha.  (We've both seen her in Emma (1996) as Jane Fairfax, and Melody has also seen her in The Mayor of Casterbridge (2003) and a random episode of Poirot which she doesn't remember very well.)  We thought Stephanie J. Block could do a good job with the vocals for this role (skip to 1:20 in the video to actually hear her sing), as she has the "belting chops" necessary to make Mrs. Reed sound somewhat frightening as she ought to be.

We also intend to change up Mrs. Reed's part a little in our version of the musical-- she should just be In It more in general, and we want to have Jane's uncle leave her the money instead of having Mrs. Reed do that.  Because, hello, that's totally out of character and completely different from the book.  And in case you hadn't noticed, we believe in sticking to the book at all costs.

Bertha Antoinetta Mason

Nope, your eyes don't deceive you-- we chose Anne Hathaway for this role.  She might not be the first person to come to mind when one thinks of Mr. Rochester's crazed first wife, but we think a fair amount of makeup could give her the proper scary face.  (With a lot of wild, frizzy hair in the face.)  Plus, Bertha is supposed to have been very beautiful when Mr. Rochester first married her, and in some film versions they portray her as still beautiful (though this isn't accurate to the book).  Bertha doesn't sing much on the cast album, but she does have a cadenza of sorts in the background at the end of "Sirens," and she also appears in a few songs that aren't on the album (snifffff...) such as "The Fire" and "The Scream."  And, of course, after Les Mis came out last year we definitely know that Anne Hathaway can sing.

Richard Mason

We considered casting a singer for this part, because he does have a song, "Poor Master," towards the end.  However, that's just in the cast recording, and in the actual play apparently it's Mrs. Fairfax who tells Jane what happened to Mr. Rochester, and we would prefer it that way (even though in the book it was just a random guy in the village who ran the inn or whatever).  So we poked around at actors and decided on Rupert Friend (Wickham in P&P05 and Prince Albert in The Young Victoria). Just because we wanted to.

Young Jane & Helen

Ha... we really have no ideas here.  We're really rather ill-versed in the subject of young female singers and actresses.  We considered Lucy Boynton for one of them at first, but to our chagrin remembered that she's actually old enough to play Adult Jane now.  Heehee.  Suggestions from our lovely readers?  Hmmmm?


Nine-year-old Ava Della Pietra is our choice for Adele-- she looks a bit young for the role, perhaps, but have you any idea how hard it is to find good actresses/singers under 14 these days?   No?  Obviously you were not paying attention during the paragraph about Helen and Younger Jane, then.  Anyways, Ava Della Pietra played Little Cosette in the stage production of Les Miserables that Miss Dashwood saw earlier in the year, and she has a fantastic voice for such a wee thing.  Plus we think she has a good face for Adele. 

Miss Scatcherd

Miss Scatcherd doesn't do much singing, so we thought it reasonable enough to cast a non-singing actress who could then be dubbed for her brief appearance in "Children of God."  So we chose Juliet Aubrey, whom Melody has seen in The Mayor of Casterbridge, to do the acting bit.  As for who should dub her, we thought Christine Andreas could do a good job with the Mean Vocals.  Heehee.  Her voice has a rather operatic quality, but Miss Scatcherd could totally sound diva-ish if you think about it.

It's a pity that we aren't Real Professional Movie-Makers, because this film has the potential to be sensational.  We'd make a few changes to the original libretto, of course--one thing being that it would be tweaked wherever possible to include more quotes from the book; even in some of the songs, during the dialogue where they're not actually singing. For instance, in "The Proposal,"  Jane says, "For here I have talked, face to face, with what I reverence, what I delight in... with an original, a vigorous, an expanded mind. * But I see the necessity of departure, and it is like looking on the necessity of death."  The line could be straight out of the book, if this was added where the asterisk is placed: "I have known you, Mr. Rochester, and it strikes me with terror and anguish to know that I absolutely must be torn from you forever."

Not too much in that song, unfortunately, could be added without the background music being changed, but there could at least be small things like that; and then towards the end (around 5:04) Jane should do a little of the asking if he is in earnest and having him swear it before she does the "I will marry you" bit.

After the wild success of the live singing in the 2012 Les Miserables film, we think that as much of this movie as possible should be sung live.  Of course the bits that are dubbed by other singers ("Children of God," "The Finer Things," &c.) will have to be prerecorded, but songs like "The Proposal" and "The Pledge" ought to be sung live if at all possible since they are so interspersed with dialogue, and whichever ones require more Acting. This will give the actors a better opportunity to be Emotional and Dramatic during those songs.  Lovely soaring orchestrations, of course, will be added later. 

As for the rest of the creative team on this project, we need to find a good director who has experience with musicals but understands about staying true to the book... Tom Hooper, perhaps?  We're not allowing Joel Schumacher (directer and writer of the 2004 Phantom of the Opera movie) within a fifty-mile radius of this film, of course, even if we are writing the script ourselves.  It wouldn't be a bad idea to have a BBC period drama director on board as well, just to balance things out and be sure the film stays accurate (though Andrew Davies and his silly Scenes of Sensationalism will be banished along with Joel Schumacher).  Filming will all take place in the English countryside, naturally.  And since Amy's rather jealous of Melody getting to costar with Ramin Karimloo act in such a delightful movie, she is going to be Wardrobe Mistress and design/create all of the costumes.  She is currently planning a delightful sort of waistcoat for Mr. Rochester to wear... red and gold go together quite well, yes? ;)

We just wish it could really happen... do we have any multimillionaires in the audience who might care to fund this project and convince all our stars to play the parts?  Hmmm?

And what think the rest of you?  Would not this be delightful?  Do any of our choices please you?  Have you listened to any of the musical in question?  Because if not, you should. :)

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

"Celebrate Musicals Week" Tag

(My posts should really win an award for originality in titles. :P Heh.)
Yet Another Period Drama Blog

It's the week for celebrating musicals over at Yet Another Period Drama Blog! You can read all about it by clicking the picture above (and going here to the details page), so I won't bother with a long intro, and just get to the questions... oh, and you can get to the tag here.

1.  What musical did you pick to "spotlight" this week and why?
My Fair Lady.
Because Amy told me to.
Heh, heh, no, she didn't actually... she just said she thought I would, and then I was like, oh yeah, duh... 
This is the only one I really know enough about (or that there's enough material out there to work with) to spotlight besides for Phantom of the Opera, and she is doing that, and our opinions are similar (well, to the best of my knowledge) so it might be a little redundant... ;) So just go read her stuff. And anything I disagree with will probably be animatedly stated in the Comments section. Ha.

I'm actually not sure at this point whether I'll be able to do more posts or not, but our Event Leader told me she wanted me to do the tag anyways, which I'm glad about because it looks like fun. :)

2.  How did you discover the musical you picked (hereinafter referred to as "your musical")?
It's either a long story, or I make short stories long... the latter is very probable. But here we go.

"My Fair Lady" is, of course, one of those names you hear around all your life.  When I was little it always made me think of the London Bridge song/rhyme. (You know, "take the key and lock her up, my fair lady!" I also used to think it was London bridges falling down rather than London Bridge is falling down... um, rabbit trail.) 

Anyway, I had some sort of mistaken notion about what it must be; the title was associated in my mind with all those pictures you see around of Audrey Hepburn in a form-fitting, black evening gown 
with her long cigarette holder. :P Obviously I had a lot to learn. I might have asked my mom about it at one point, but she is... not a musicals person. So that conversation, if it took place, was not at all memorable.  The first time I heard of it as something I might actually be interested in it was when Amy asked me if I'd seen it, eons ago in the beginning of our correspondence. ;) She said she loved it, which piqued my curiosity, but I knew that she was way more into Musicals Stuff than I was, and it must just be a point in which we weren't alike. Well, you know, there has to be some things. ;)

Thennnn like less than a month later I was over at a friend's house to watch... something... oh, North and South, it was (I introduced her to it, heehee) and afterwards her mom said that the next movie we did should be My Fair Lady, and asked if we'd ever seen it. (My mom was there too.) On hearing we hadn't, she asked if we were liked Wordy Things, which we DO, and then she proceeded to talk about the storyline and how amusing it all was and I was kind of like, hey, that actually DOES sound interesting... and at some point I found out it was set in the Edwardian era, which pretty much settled that I wanted to see it at some point. Before I'd assumed it was just set when it came out, ha ha ha. (Told you I had a lot to learn. Don't laugh at me.) 

That was in December and I didn't end up actually watching it till March (of 2012). I took it upon myself to get it from the library, much to the skepticism and amusement of my parents, and, armed with a list of song suggestions from Amy (that is, what I Shouldn't Skip... see, I had the habit of fast-forwarding through most of the songs in musicals *runs and hides*), I sat down to watch it. 

I found myself loving it, which I totally hadn't expected. I thought I might like it--I was hoping I would--but it exceeded my expectations. :D  My dad and brother came in during "Show Me" and were making Remarks which I did not appreciate and I was like "you can't judge this because you don't know what's going on, go away and leave me in peace and don't make fun of my movie." And that's when I realized how much I actually liked it. Because it turned on my Defense Mode. ;) (And, by the way, I totally converted them after that. Watched it with them and they were highly diverted. Even my mamma enjoyed it. Don't get me wrong, my mom has a lot in common with me when it comes to movies... but not musicals, haha.) 

And since then MFL has somehow become a special Thing with Amy and me and we consider it to be "our musical", so... that's definitely a fond connection. :D

3.  If you had to pick three favorite songs from your musical, which ones would they be?
Oooh. So, with this musical pretty much the ones I like are all on a similar standing, buuut I guess I'll say--
"Without You" (it's just so funny :D)
"I Could Have Danced All Night" (it's so catchy and fun, not to mention it seems to be the Main Theme)
Aaand I can't decide between "Wouldn't It Be Loverly" and "Just You Wait"... it depends on my mood at the time. If you know those songs I'm sure you will observe the difference between them, haha.
And as far as the tunes go, I really like "On the Street Where You Live". That would be in the top three if we're looking at instrumental versions, haha.

4.  What's your least favorite song from your musical?
Without a doubt mine is 116 (coughsorryS&S95gotintheresomehow) "Get Me To the Church On Time". I've never even listened to or watched it all and I probably never shall... unless it's a live performance or something in which case I suppose it would be hard to avoid. :P

5.  Who are your favorite characters (choose up to three)?
Well, I do like Eliza herself. I also love Mrs. Higgins, even though there isn't much of her. I have to wonder how Henry turned out the way he did with such an awesome mother. :P Anyways, and then... um... well, Professor Higgins is funny buuut he also annoys me easily, so I guess I'll say Col. Pickering. Call me boring, but I like nice guys. (Although even he is not without his annoying moments, haha.)

6.  Which versions of your musical have you seen/listened to, and which is your favorite?
The classic 1964 film, obviously; I've listened to most of the Original Broadway Cast with Julie Andrews, aaand last year I listened to the live Royal Albert Hall broadcast (well, on the internet) with Amy, Anne-girl and Alexandra. Anthony Andrews was Henry Higgins, and so the fact that I did not blend into the A Group (I mean, look, those names were five A's in succession...) was not the only reason I felt a bit Different, as they were all swooning over Anthony Andrews. :P But it was still a lot of fun. (You can read Amy's account of it here and Ally's here.)

And my favorite would just have to be the movie. :)  Oh, but I do think Anthony Andrews was the best Higgins. This I shall admit. I really wish we could have actually seeeen it though. (And actually seeing Alun Armstrong--see, what is up with all the A's???--as Alfred (A again!) P. Doolittle would have been really cool.)

7.   Is this your favorite musical of all time?  If not, what is?
Ummm... possibly. But then again, perhaps not. Because most of it would probably get old too fast even though I really like it. But I don't knowww what my favorite is. Based on recent inclination I would say Phantom of the Opera. But I still don't know. I also love the Jane Eyre musical to bits and pieces, but unfortunately all that's available is the original cast recording and some pirated videos on YouTube. (Bring it back, Broadway. Pleeease. Better yet, somebody make a movie. YES. Pleaseplease. More about that later this week hopefully. :D) And I do like Les Mis more than I used to but I feel unable to judge that one objectively. Hahahaha. Plus, I think that if I was Fan Material I would have already become one, as from what I see it tends to happen to most people with alarming rapidity. Their worlds are changed with just one burst of light, you know, and they did not live until that day, etc, etc.  And I think there's already been opportunity for that sort of thing, soooo... anyways.

8.   Which cast album/musical soundtrack in your collection do you listen to the most?
It depends on how you would define "in your collection," haha. But most recently, probably the 25th anniversary of Phantom. Not quite as much really lately, though. I had to re-do my entire Favorites List for the JA week I did and then when I was replacing my old favorites not as many made it back on, simply because I'd been listening to them so much before that. 

9.   What is your favorite costume from your musical?
The purple "Just You Wait" dress.  I. Love. That. Costume. Give to meeeee. I actually really like most of Eliza's everyday-ish dresses. The ballgown, not so much... and don't get me started on the Ascot dress. Ugh. That thing is an eyesore. 

10.  If you could change anything about your musical, what would you change?
Mmm... I'd take out my least-favorite song (see above) entirely... it's completely unnecessary. I would also make Mr. Doolittle's other song shorter so I wouldn't have to fast-forward through as much. HA. I mean, you kind of have to have some annoying stuff so you understand his character, but it really didn't need to be that long.  I would also take out swearing... I'm looking at you, Professor Higgins. :P  (Although it's kind of funny if you have Amy there to mute it dramatically at precisely the right moment. :D)  I would say that there should be more explained at the end, buuut... after learning more about the original play and whatnot I actually think it was pretty clever of them to leave it the way it was. 
Oh, and I'd changed the Ascot ensemble. Haha. :D (And WHY does it have to become the 'famous' costume?) This one would have been a much better choice, why didn't they use it?? And her hair at the ball shouldn't be so... scary.

11.  Which role(s) would you most like to play in any musical, if you had the opportunity to do so on stage?
Ooh! Good question. This thought didn't occur to me until recently, but I think I would go with Jane Eyre. For numerous reasons.
~I love her songs. 
~They are not in high keys. The lower notes would be more of a problem, actually, but I think I could do it.
~It would be amazing to be Jane Eyre in any play and especially in a movie-- haha, we're talking pipe dreams here, right? It's such a powerful story and I really do love Jane.
~I'm actually short enough. I still don't think I'm quite as short as Jane should have been, but a lot closer than most.  I rather hope I'm not as 'plain' as Jane is supposed to be, but I probably have a suitably old-fashioned look. ;)
~The costumes would be interesting. :D And the time period and all that. And the sets would be delightful.
~I mean, how cool would it be to actually be the title character in something???
~I'll shut up now. :) 

The kissing would be a problem, but maybe some stage trick could be worked out.

Other than that... well, it would be super fun to play Eliza. :D (The horse race scene, though, would be... um... awkward.)  I've also contemplated if I could choose any character in POTO who would I be, and though it would be fun and dramatic to be Christine there are too many things I would object to, so I was actually thinking Meg... hahaha. (But only if the costumes at the beginning were changed.) I mean, she's not a big part, Angel of Music is practically her only song, and the prancing around singing "He's here, the phantom of the opera!" gets a bit ridiculous... but sometimes it's fun to be ridiculous. And the whole show would end with the spotlight on me, haha. ;) But wait, she's a ballerina... eh, never mind. There is no way her costumes would be Enough to satisfy me. Haha. Ignore me...

Anyways. Oh, and I actually think it would be rather swellissimus to play Eponine (other people saying so is catching, maybe), but pretty much just in theory because in reality I would feel undeserving of the role. "LOL, JK... here's my friend Amy, let her do it instead." :P And even though the character herself doesn't have to do anything questionable, I don't know how I'd actually feel being in a production that had things I disapproved of (so the same thing goes for Phantom, I guess). Something small-scale and with some changes made might be different...

And although I'm not overly impressed by any of the Jane Austen musicals, if I got to be in one you wouldn't find me complaining. I mean, helloooo, a being in a JA production of any kind would be so MAJORLY EXCITING. S&S would probably be my choice since I'm more acquainted with it than others and I do like a number of the songs. :) (If only they had orchestral backgrounds replacing the plinky piano...)

12.  If you could choose one performer to play any part in your musical, who would you choose and which part would you have them play?
Um... haha. I am not at all creative when it comes to that kind of thing. So I'll just wait for someone else to make a brilliant suggestion and then say "oh yeah, duh!!"

13.  Do you consider yourself a musical theatre fan in general or do you just like a few musicals?
Wellll, my automatic answer would be that I just like a few musicals, but now I think it might kind of be in-between the two. (And I'm not even going to pretend it isn't Amy's influence, because I know it is. Heehee.) I've actually come a long way, which I freely admit. Like, if somebody were to say "do you like musicals/musical theatre?" and demand that I answer with either "yes" or "no", three years ago my answer would have been "no", and now it would be "yes". (Actually, three years ago if someone used the term "musical theatre" I would be kind of like "Huhhh?" and not really know what they were talking about... heh. See, I told you I've come a long way.)

14.  Are you tired of the word "musical" yet? 
Not particularly. (But this is a funny question. ;) ) Besides, it has more than one definition, and with the other definition I can start rattling off Jane Austen quotes.  "We have heard you are very musical, Mrs. Elton!" "Oh yes, I dote on it! Dote! As I said to Mr. E, don't give me carriages, don't give me enormous houses--but I could not live without music. No. Life would be... a blank to me."

... "Are they musical? ... That is the first question, you know," said Miss Crawford, trying to appear gay and unconcerned, "which every woman who plays herself is sure to ask about another."

Shutting up. :D Although if you can't put up with Jane Austen randomly sneaking in when I'm supposed to be talking about other stuff... you're reading the wrong blog. ;)

15.  Turn your music playing device on shuffle (or utilize Pandora if you don't have one) and tell us the names of the first three show tunes that come up-- no cheating!  How do these rank on your favorites/most-listened-to list?
Oooh, one of these deals. It always tends to give me the worst stuff or else just really boring things and I'm like "why is this even on my MP3 player..." Buuut, we shall try this once more. ;)

1. "Cry, Baby, Cry" from the Sense and Sensibility musical
2. "Entr'acte" from Phantom of the Opera 25th
3. "Angel of Music" from the same

Elinor & Marianne from the recent S&S musical performance in Denver

#1 is kind of just a lullaby that Elinor sings at one point to try to comfort the emotionally overtaxed Marianne (well, I assume that's what's going on, since I've never actually seen it). It's a pretty song and has appeared on my favorites list a few times but usually doesn't stay there for long.  #2 is really fun because it's an energetic medley of some of the POTO songs, and I've actually listened to numbers 2 and 3 quite often, but they aren't like my favorites from that album.

(Okay, so Amy, I find it amusing that in the tag you answered yourself it says "MP3 player or iPod" but then on the list for the questions-to-be-copied it says "music playing device"... :P Did you reword the latter list and not bother changing the one you'd already answered?)

Sooo... the end! :) Thanks for the fun tag, Miss Dashwood!

Would you rather hear the story...

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